Darfur peace heads towards final station despite difficulties

10:55, July 27, 2011      

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The peace train in Sudan' s western region of Darfur is heading towards its final station despite the barriers and difficulties which seem would make of realization of a final settlement a harder matter.

After the signing of the Darfur Doha peace agreement on July 14, the local governments in Darfur initiated a wide move to persuade some Darfur armed movements to join the peace option.

The Darfur governments have adopted the term "peace from within " after the Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has declared that there would be no other negotiating forum outside Sudan and that the Doha agreement would be the last peace document.

In this respect, North Darfur State has achieved a positive breakthrough by convincing two Darfur rebel movements, defecting from the Darfur rebel Sudan Liberation Army (SLA)/Abdul-Wahid Mohamed Nur faction, to abandon the military work and enter a political partnership with the local authorities.

North Darfur State government signed two agreements on July 17 and 24 with the Contemporary Generation Front and the Bedouins and Routes Alliance respectively.

The agreements stipulated cessation of hostilities and assimilating the troops of the two movements into the regular forces according to the regulations and terms.

The two agreements also stipulated demobilization of small and disabled soldiers besides tackling the issue of prisoners of war and missing ones and that the two movements should immediately hand over their arms and equipment to the government and open the roads which they used to close in eastern Darfur.

In implementation of the security arrangements item, the vanguards of the two movements arrived in El Fasher, capital of North Darfur State on Monday prior to including them in the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration program in the military and civil institutions.

North Darfur State Governor Osman Mohamed Yousif Kibir, addressing the returning troops, vowed to complete the peace procedures and adjust the status of the movements which have joined the peace march.

"The return of these groups have contributed to opening El Fasher- Kutum-Kabkabiya road in eastern Darfur," said Kibir, reiterating his government commitment to encourage the process of peace from within as it is the right way to enhance the agreements and translate them on the real ground.

Abdul-Aziz Adam, Commander of the Bedouins and Routes Alliance forces, told Xinhua that "our return comes as part of supporting the peace opportunities after our people have got fed of the war and fighting."

"This is a great opportunity to achieve the comprehensive peace in Darfur. The signing of the Doha agreement, with a great support of our people in Darfur and the international community, avails the chance for the realization of peace in the region according to the aspirations of its people," he added.

Adam further urged the armed movements rejecting to join the peace march to reconsider their stance, saying "we were fighting for the people of Darfur who now want peace. Therefore, we have no choice but to respond to the demands of our people in the region."

"I call on all the armed movements to join the peace," he said.

Despite the prevailing peace atmospheres on Darfur, there are many barriers which are still crippling the endeavors to reach a comprehensive settlement for the conflict of the region which has been continuing since 2003.

There are major armed movements, including the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the SLA/Abdul-Wahid Mohamed Nur faction and SLA/Minni Arko Minnawi faction, which are still rejecting any peace agreement with the Sudanese government.

These rejecting movements adhere to field action and escalation of military confrontation with the central government in Khartoum.

On July 14, the Sudanese government and the Darfur Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM), led by Al-Tigani El-Sissi, signed a peace agreement in the Qatari capital of Doha after around 30 months of marathon negotiations.

The Doha peace agreement tackled issues relating to power and wealth sharing, human rights, basic rights, return of the refugees and IDPs, compensation, justice, permanent ceasefire, security arrangements, implementation mechanisms, the status of Darfur and reconciliations.

The JEM, led by Khalil Ibrahim and the alliance of the SLA/ Minni Minnawi faction and SLA/Abdul-Wahid Nur faction have rejected to sign the agreement and insisted that it was "a partial agreement" that did not fulfill the demands of the Darfur people.

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